The float glass process, also known as the Pilkington process, was developed by Sir Pilkington in 1952, and involves feeding a ribbon of molten glass from a furnace onto a bath of molten tin. This process produces a sheet of glass with a uniform thickness and a very smooth surface.
The glassblowing technique was first used around the first century BCE, and deals with the inflation of molten glass into a bubble by using a blowpipe. Throughout time, this process was further developed into two main techniques: mold blowing and free blowing.
The glass industry is a continuously growing one. Global demand for fabricated flat glass is growing at a fast pace, and is expected to reach 139,900 million U.S. dollars in 2023, more than double its value since 2008. More than two-thirds of the overall flat glass production is used in construction, with the rest used in the automobile industry and other assorted uses. China, Western Europe, and North America are the regions with the highest demand for glass.
In the United States the glass manufacturing revenue amounted to 31 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, based on a five year annual growth rate of 2.9 percent. The value of the U.S. flat glass market is projected to increase considerably, from an estimated 22 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 to an expected 44 billion U.S. dollars in 2025.